I know a guy who entered into the prep world maybe 6 years ago, and boy did he ever. He absorbed every bit of information from all of the alt news websites and prep blogs, ran up his credit cards over the course of a year buying up stacks of supplies and guns and knew without a shadow of a doubt that SHTF would be happening in the next year (but surely not more than two). One year passed as he bought more storage food and other supplies, two years passed and then three. Fast forward to year five and he began selling his guns and preps as other priorities in his life came into play. Now 6 years later he is no better off than when he started and probably still has quite a bit of debt. Too much preparedness and not enough balance / perspective and this is what you get.
The story above is not dissimilar from many out there, folks who jump out of the gate at full speed gobbling up supplies and knowledge almost in the hopes that some sort of catestrophic event will take place in order to justify their actions. In contrast if my body of work, in the form of many years of preparedness, results in no action take and dusty emergency supplies I’ll happily take it. That would mean that my family never had to endure the hardships which I was preparing for, that I got it wrong and those who live their lives only worrying about the next day were right (or lucky). Yet as demonstrated by the hurricane that is pounding the gulf coast as I type this and those who will be facing lengthened power outage / bugout situations, the need for balanced preparedness comes around more often than many like to acknowledge.
The Need for a Baseline
There are basic prep needs that are readily known to most in the community, some people probably meet these needs without even calling themselves preppers as most are/should be common sense. While it won’t require one tuning into Alex Jones and maxing out the Visa card at the prepper convention, a certain mindset and acknowledgement that one could end up in at bind is necessary. Those facing the aforementioned hurricane would have done good to have a few days of food and water, a decent first aid kit stocked with necessary meds and a vehicle with a full tank of gas / a few extra full gasoline cans. Basic stuff. Folks actually can go from zero to having a good baseline in one afternoon with a couple hundred bucks and a trip to Costco.
Analysis and Prioritization
This is where things get a little sticky and folks tend to go overboard. What are you preparing for? “Everything! EMP, Nuclear War, Supervolcano, Martial Law, Drought, Stock Market Crash and ohbytheway that thing were the poles reverse.” While I must admit there have been a few times where I got spun up (if you recall Ebola) for the most part I’d like to believe things remained practical with respect to preparedness around here. Sure one can acknowledge the EMP threat and war game it, but to dwell on it seems like a waste of time and energy. What we don’t want is to be like my friend where things spiral out of control and we get burned out in a sprint, disappointed and disollusioned when the big one doesn’t take place. If you’ve been around this for a while and have checked some other blogs / alt news sites you can go back 10 years and without exception predicitons of calamity / collapse are in no short supply. “There is no way we get through _______ (whatever year) without a major collapse and here are the key indicators!” 5 years later…
In order to avoid all of this it becomes essential to conduct an analysis of YOUR situation and prioritize accordingly.
- What are the biggest high probability threats in your local area?
- What resources do you have: Time, Money, Friends etc?
- How can you mitigate the top 3 threats via 2 courses of action?
- How can you monitor if those threats are going to manifest themselves?
- What’s the 6 month, 1 year, 3 and 5 year plan to shore up things, acknowledging all at once is not an option?
- Taking all of the above into account, is there a numbered checklist which prioritizes efforts toward the goal?
The above is just a sample I came up with but as an example, my threat list would include forest fires and being snowed in without power for a few days or weeks at time. Flooding, hurricanes and tornadoes not so much. Based on my threat analysis I would begin to prioritize and plan in case I had to take action..and on it goes.
The Long Game
I believe one of the shortfalls that we all can fall victim to is not taking account the long game and by that I mean years or even decades. Unfornately there are those out there who want to justify their preps, hoping for an EMP to hit (yes, those morons exist) or some similar calamity to befall their area. We need to play for the long game, constantly shoring up our preps / skills / relationships / resources over an extended period of time understanding that yes indeed at some point something could happen. This is why preparedness should be a lifestyle and a balanced one at that. Enjoy life, take the family out, don’t be afraid to travel beyond a 20 mile radius of the homestead. The long play wins in this scenario and it probably always will.
The Bottom Line
All of this circles back to one thing: practical preparedness. Once a baseline is established this is a race that the tortise is poised to win, not the hare. Sound discipline, logic and a good plan of action are key in a successful preparedness journey. Those who jump out of the gate and overload themselves with “I’m a prepper!” are only setting themselves up for disappointment.